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Cusano scores 100th career goal and sets season mark in 22-19 loss at Coker

Juliette Cusano set the Tusculum single-season goal record and reached 100 career goals at Coker (photo by Megann McKinney)
Juliette Cusano set the Tusculum single-season goal record and reached 100 career goals at Coker (photo by Megann McKinney)

HARTSVILLE, S.C. --- Juliette Cusano scored a career-high nine goals to become the third player in Tusculum University women's lacrosse history to score 100 career goals and set the program single-season record for goals, but the Pioneers lost 22-19 at Coker College on Saturday afternoon in South Atlantic Conference action.

Cusano scored her 100th career goal with 23:58 left in the first half to give the Pioneers a 2-1 lead, and broke her previous career high with her eighth goal of the afternoon with 7:05 left to pull Tusculum within 19-18. Her ninth of the day with 4:44 left was her 55th goal of the season, breaking the program single-season mark of 54 goals set in 2015 by Kelsey Crow. Cusano's nine goals and 10 points are both second all-time in a single game in program history behind the 10 goals and 12 points scored by Savannah Elliott against Converse on Feb. 16, 2017.

Rachel Holmes matched her season and career high with seven goals for the Pioneers (4-9, 2-3 SAC), who led by six goals in the first half and continued to lead midway through the second half before the Cobras scored five of six goals to take a 19-16 lead with 10:57 to play.

Faith Kent led the Cobras (5-6, 2-4 SAC) with six goals and an assist, and Alexis Zegan had four goals and two assists as Coker scored 11 of their 22 goals on free-position shots and finished with a 32-11 edge in draw controls over Tusculum, including 18-1 in the second half. Kent had 12 draw controls to lead all players, with Alyssa Baronella-O'Toole adding nine and Reagan Parr seven. Baronella-O'Toole had four goals along with Hannah Shuren for Coker, while Bailey O'Brien had two goals and an assist.

Zegan opened the scoring just 31 seconds into the first half, but the Pioneers ran off five straight goals over a span of 7 1/2 minutes as Cusano scored twice while Emily Youngblood, Holmes and Eliza Ryan had one apiece. The Tusculum lead grew to 8-2 as a goal by Cusano was followed by two from Holmes, but Coker came back with three straight in 1:04 as Shuren was followed by two goals from Baronella-O'Toole, the latter with 13:18 left in the half.

Holmes and Cusano combined to extend the Tusculum lead to 10-5 with 9:43 left in the half, but Coker scored three times in 27 seconds to pull within 10-8. The teams would exchange goals for the final 5 1/2 minutes of the half, with the last off the stick of Baronella-O'Toole to cut the Tusculum lead to 12-11 at intermission.

Tusculum's lead expanded to open the second half on goals by Holmes and Youngblood, but Coker scored three straight to tie the score at 14-14 on a goal by O'Brien with 19:17 to go. Holmes gave Tusculum its last lead at 15-14 with 17:37 left, but Zegan and Kent scored 44 seconds apart as the Cobras went up 16-15 with 16:39 to go. Another goal by Cusano tied the game 16-16 with 14:05 left, but Kent, Parr and Shuren scored in a span of just over two minutes for a 19-16 Coker lead with 10:57 to play.

Cusano scored twice in two minutes as the Pioneers pulled back within 19-18 with 7:05 remaining, but Kent and Shuren answered quickly as the Cobra lead grew to 21-18 with 6:32 on the clock. Cusano's ninth and final goal made it 21-19 with 4:44 left, but Baronella-O'Toole scored an insurance tally with 3:22 left to set the final score.

Cusano had five ground balls, two caused turnovers and three draw controls to go along with her nine goals for the Pioneers. Youngblood finished with two goals and three assists and Brittany Lowery dished out three assists while collecting three draw controls and causing three turnovers. Bailey Lowery chipped in with two assists for the Pioneers and Jessica Spiegel added one.

For Coker, Kent had a team-high five ground balls with three apiece for Meagan Gallagher and Makenzie Stroup. Kent, Zegan and Amariah Lawson each had a pair of caused turnovers.

Kate Pipkin made 12 saves in goal for the Pioneers, while Cobra keeper Olivia Fladung had nine saves between the pipes, including seven in the second half.

Tusculum will be back home on Wednesday at 1 p.m. to face Lincoln Memorial in a SAC matchup at Pioneer Field.

 

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